Claire has been hiding Alex in her closet. This week she brings him a sandwich on white bread after he specifically asked for wheat, apparently beggars can be choosers. Claire tells Alex he has to go to Albuquerque and start a new life where no one knows him. Alex doesn't want to trust the word of a high school kid. Claire reminds him, "If it wasn't for this high school girl you might already be dead, so if you want to survive you're gonna have to do exactly what I say." Alex likes an aggressive girl but before he can answer her Sandra confronts Claire about the disappearance of $300 in house money and Mr. Muggles helps to uncover both Alex's sandwich and Alex.
HRG is in Building 26 watching his own house, which is under surveillance on a live feed streaming into headquarters. Danko announces that Peter has joined forces with Parkman and they are now both on the top of the most wanted list. Danko then gives orders to take them down by any means necessary. Nathan walks in and says, "short of lethal force." To which Danko answers they've been authorized to shoot to kill. Nathan asks by whose orders and Danko responds by his own. Nathan tells HRG to keep an eye on Danko but because Danko is nearby HRG says he might want to kill them too for kidnapping and torturing him. Just then word comes in that Parkman and Peter have been spotted in Manhattan.
In Manhattan Parkman paints obsessively while in a trance trying to paint anything but the grim reality of having bombs strapped to his chest. Peter wakes him and tells him they have to go, that it's not safe. A nearby computer turns itself on and a message streams across the screen with the address of where Daphne is being held. Peter thinks it's a trap, Parkman thinks it's his only way of finding Daphne. Then the computer screen warns them that agents are closing in and they have to leave immediately. They escape just as agents bust in. The computer feed allows Danko to see the painting of Washington D.C. and he says, "I have a pretty good idea of where they're headed."
Claire tries to lie to her Mother and claims to be having sex with Alex thus why he was hiding in her closet. Sandra reminds Alex that Claire is only 17 and suddenly Alex admits he's never laid a hand on her. Claire finally confesses that Alex has a special ability, he can breathe under water, and she's trying to help him escape. Sandra is furious over being lied to and says she's "disappointed" in Claire. Only the worst possible thing a Mother can say to her child.
Luke and Sylar continue their drive towards Sylar's Father. Luke checks for agents on the computer Sylar stole when he rescued Luke. He tells Sylar their trail is clear and he's disappointed, he really enjoys frying people. Sylar points out he doesn't want to leave a trail of dead bodies all the way to his Father's house. Luke wonders why Sylar cares so much about finding his Dad since he probably won't have any answers anyway. Then he complains that his own Father used him as an ashtray. He's about to show Sylar his scars when Sylar flattens him up against the car window and tells him to shut his mouth, his Father is the only one with any answers. He releases Luke then abruptly pulls over to the side of the road in front of an abandoned hot dog stand. He gets out and stands in front of the dilapidated building. Luke doesn't understand what Sylar is doing especially when Sylar begins removing the boards from the door and flinging them through the air very close to where Luke is standing.
Sandra tries to warn Claire that she's taking a huge risk in harboring a fugitive. Claire tries to explain to her Mom that she's just trying to do what's right and that she has to lie in order to protect her Mom. Sandra asks why she and her Father think she's so fragile. She says she's got news for her that there's a van sitting out in front of the house and she knows they're watching the house, watching Claire. Claire checks it out for herself. Agents sit in a pool cleaning van talking about how she's hiding Alex in the house. Sandra points out that the pool cleaning van has been sitting out there for four hours, "no one's pool is that dirty." She tells Claire to trust her, that she can help her. Alex agrees and tells Claire they should trust Sandra. Sandra says she has a plan.
Meanwhile Parkman and Peter talk about how to get into Building 26. Peter grabs Parkman's arm and transfers his power into him. Parkman points out that by doing so he's ruined their fly off the roof escape plan. Peter argues that Parkman will need backup and they can control more minds this way. Besides they should only worry about, "one plan at a time." Once in Building 26 they use their mind control to get into the elevator, extract information and turn guards against their enemies. Rebel turns a computer on in the operations room where Peter and Parkman happen to be. A video of their abduction plays on the screen. Peter makes a copy of it to use as blackmail in exchange for Daphne. Danko sees Parkman and Peter on surveillance and goes after them. The guards turn their guns on Danko. Parkman smiles smugly at the security camera in a moment that reminds us why we enjoyed this show the first season.
Sandra finds out that Kyle got C+ on his history exam and uses it as an excuse to take his driver's license away from him. She then cuts Kyle's photo out of the license and replaces it with Alex's. This one is hard to believe considering that California licenses haven't been laminated for some time for this very reason. She tells Alex to take a shower and change not just his clothes but also his appearance since the bad guys are using facial recognition software. Claire feels closer to her Mom and is impressed with her spy skills. Sandra confesses that she learned some tricks when she was young and following Def Leppard on tour. Claire says she's sorry for everything including being a freak. She thinks if she were normal then her parents would still be together. Sandra says they were having problems before Claire's abilities were an issue and everything that happens between her parents is not her fault. Sandra confesses saying she doesn't know if they'll get divorced but she, "can't see her marriage and is tired of being lied to."
Sylar stands in the middle of the abandoned hot dog stand. Luke pesters him and asks why they're still there. Sylar says it's because he remembers something then he flashes back to 1980 in black and white because all flash backs lose their color in the memory processing center of the brain on this show. As Fleetwood Mac's song "The Chain" plays in the background we see a young Sylar about 5 or 6 being led into the hot dog restaurant and sat at a table. He plays with a Matchbox car while his Father, who we only see in long shot with blurry or obscured face, shakes hands with a man at another table. Young Sylar drops his toy car into the partition of his table where he is unable to retrieve it. His Father pulls him away from the table and we're back in present time. Sylar rips open the partition with his powers, bends down and finds the toy car lost so long ago.
Claire walks into her room just in time to see Alex without his shirt looking buff and cute. She seems to always attract the Clark Kent/Superman type, must be a Daddy issue left over from unresolved feelings of abandonment with Nathan. He's not wearing his glasses anymore and he's changed his hairstyle. He thanks Claire for helping him and wonders why she's doing it. She says it's because they're an endangered species and she's just trying to help one of her own kind. He says that if it weren't for all the running from agents he'd ask her out on a date. She tells him she's not really into relationships and that most of them end in divorce or the people in them are miserable. He thinks it would still be worth it just for moments like this, "when someone gets you the way no one else does." He goes in for a kiss, Claire is about to let him and Sandra busts into the room telling them they have to hide Alex immediately. Damn. Sandra hides Alex in a crawl space that HRG used to hide guns and sensitive paperwork. The agents from the pool cleaning van enter the house and look for Alex. Sandra fondles a gun strapped to the underside of the kitchen counter. The agents act tough and complain that they know they're hiding Alex and that they'll catch him. Sandra asks if they're done, they say yes, she tells them to get out of her house. After they leave she tells Alex and Claire she has a plan to buy Alex some time to get to the train station and catch the train to Albuquerque.
HRG has an idea to flush out Parkman and Peter he knows that Parkman's nerves are over-stimulated when he uses his mind control powers. He uses this against Parkman and pulls the fire alarm. Parkman tries to hold them off as long as he can but the sound is too much for him. Peter just needs a little more time to make the copy of the video. He's excited about exposing the operation that is rounding up citizens without due process. Rebel sends them a message, they've got 30 seconds to escape, then the power goes out. Peter grabs his flash drive with the copy in tact just before the lights go out. Parkman holds off Danko, Nathan and HRG as Peter escapes. The power comes back on and Parkman is taken into custody.
Sylar says something horrible happened to him in the hot dog stand all those years ago. Luke says that's what you're supposed to do, forget all the bad things that happen and leave them in your childhood. Sylar says, "No, it eats away at your soul." The black and white flashback wraps it's way into the current scene as Sylar remembers his Father selling him for cash to a couple in the restaurant and then leaving. He ran after them calling for his Daddy. His Father got into a car and argued with his Mother until his Father waved his finger across her forehead and sliced it open, just like Sylar does to his victims. Then his Dad opened the car door and pushed his Mother's lifeless body out of the car and into the parking lot. Young Sylar cried and whimpered, "Mommy," over and over again as his Father drove away. The present blends with the past as present Sylar says, "Mommy," over and over again as if in a trance. Luke interrupts with a look of shock and Sylar becomes conscious of Luke again.
Angela and Nathan talk in a car about Rebel and the information this person has on his operation. Angela assures him that she is not Rebel, that she is grateful for his generous protection of her and that she would, "never betray him." Peter calls in and tells Nathan he has evidence against him and his organization. He says he wants Parkman and Daphne in exchange for the video.
Sandra makes a break for it as the agents close in on them. She has Kyle in the car with her and says they're going to a movie. Claire and Alex have snuck out the back door and down the hill. The slip and fall on top of one another then get up and continue to run as the agents pursue them. They jump into a backyard with a swimming pool. The agents look for them, of course they're hiding in the swimming pool. Claire is about to lose her breath when Alex kisses her and breathes into her mouth. The agents give up their search but Claire continues the kiss.
Danko informs Nathan that they do not negotiate with terrorists and that he has another plan that does not include exchanging people for videos. He implies that Peter is a terrorist. Nathan is offended. News of Peter's appearance at the exchange location comes over the radio and Danko takes off to take him down. HRG goes with him. Nathan reminds HRG that Peter can read his thoughts. HRG arrives at the parking lot and tries to warn Peter with his thoughts. He tells him it's a set-up. Peter hears Danko's thoughts too as he lines up for the kill shot. Danko misses and only wounds him. Peter falls over the side of the building. Danko and HRG rush over to see if he has fallen to his death, instead he flies off into the night.
Nathan saved his brother, again. He meets up with their Mother in order to figure out what to do next. Nathan tells Peter and Angela that he knows he's screwed everything up and it's out of control but he can fix it, in fact he's the only one who can. Angela tells Peter not to go with Nathan. Peter says not to worry. He stands, embraces his brother, takes a bit of Nathan's power and flies off. Angela tells him not to go after his brother. Nathan demands, "Give me one good reason why I shouldn't." Angela answers, "Because the game has changed, I've seen it, and you have to get ready." Then she whispers something into his ear that disturbs him and stops him.
Danko watches the video Peter made on the evening news and listens to news reports of citizens being detained without warrants in clear violation of their Constitutional rights. He turns and looks at the painting of Parkman with a vest full of C4 strapped to his chest.
Sylar is still reeling from the memories of his Mother's death. Luke complains about still hanging out in a hot dog stand. Sylar tells him his Father killed his Mother. Luke apologizes saying he didn't know and that his Dad was a jerk. Sylar slams him up against a wall and says the last time Luke was talking about his Father he was telling him all about how they went birding and what a nice guy he was. Luke asks why he's hurting him. Sylar answers it's because he's there and he needs to express his feelings. He says he knows he's just been going along for a joy ride, an escape but he's got news for Luke saying, "there is no escape, there is only pain. You can never out run it, no matter what you do." He tells him to go back to his Mother. Luke asks if he's going to kill him. Sylar tells him he thinks that's a little too "on the nose." We do too, plus we know this kid has a larger purpose in the storyline and we'll see him again in future episodes at some key moment, most likely when Sylar confronts his Dad and needs help because his Dad is more powerful than he is. Sylar shares his plan to kill his Father with Luke. He wants to see his Dad dead for killing his Mother. So just in case Luke is stubborn and doesn't listen to Sylar he can conveniently find Sylar in a future episode.
Parkman and Danko ride down the road in the back of a van. Parkman warns Danko that the world will see what he is doing once the video hits the news. Danko tells Parkman that the world just doesn't know how dangerous people like him really are. He says Parkman looks exactly like a terrorist then he shoots him up with a syringe full of drugs and pushes him out of the van. Parkman stands in front of the White House as the van drives away, a vest full of C4 is strapped to his chest as he turns to camera and re-creates his own painting. Again Parkman is not the best at interpreting his visions of the future and one must ask what is the point of seeing the future if you can't change it?
Claire relaxes in her bedroom after her adventure, her hair still wet from the swimming pool and her smile still fresh from being kissed. Sandra asks if she'll miss having a cute guy hiding in her closet. Claire says, "a little." She tells her Mom how incredible she thinks she is and that she loves her. Sandra says she wouldn't change her life for anything. Claire says, "me either." It is interesting that this is the second guy Claire has kissed and them pushed away. She does have some commitment issues. And will we see flying boy again or Micah or any of the heroes from previous seasons for that matter? Sandra says she popped some popcorn and they can watch a movie, some sappy love story. Claire says that sounds great. Sandra says she'll be right down and she takes a moment to look at the photo of her and her now estranged husband in a photo of a happier time. Claire goes into the kitchen and opens the microwave to grab the popcorn but it's not there. She closes the door and turns to see the Puppet Master eating her popcorn. He says, "Hey Barbie." Claire pulls away saying, "You." The Puppet Master says, "I got a message from someone named Rebel." He shows her his phone with the text: "Claire will save you," written on it. He continues, "I need your help Barbie."
At least this season is finally getting interesting and some of the things that were set up in the previous chapters are beginning to pay off in this one. This episode had some genuinely fun and interesting moments in it. We may actually care whom this Rebel person turns out to be and what happens with Sylar's Dad. We are definitely feeling sorry for the bad guy again that's for sure. But we should all remember that a troubled past does not excuse the crimes committed in the present and it'll take a lot more than one solid episode to make us trust this show again.
: Hayden Panettiere
/ Milo Ventimiglia
/ Ali Larter
/ Masi Oka
/ Zachary Quinto
/ Dania Ramirez
/ Kristen Bell
/ Noah Gray-Cabey
/ James Kyson Lee
/ Greg Grunberg
/ Adrian Pasdar
/ Malcolm McDowell
Story by Erin MacMillan-Ramirez
Starpulse contributing writer